I went to the boat and attached the tiller I had recently repaired. The forecast had indicated 7-8 mph winds, so I was going to get some sailing time in as well. Might as well test out my repaired tiller.

I took the mainsail cover off, grateful that my new boat has a mainsail cover that actually fits properly. As I did this, the wind was steadily increasing. It was 7 or so when I started and only a couple short minutes later it was close to 10 mph. Since this would be my first solo sail on the Catalina 25, I figured I’d only fly the 110% jib to make things a little easier on myself. Prior to this solo trip on the new Catalina 25, I had 18 solo trips and over 45 solo hours on the Hunter 25, but this is a new-to-me boat and I didn’t want any surprises. I’d taken the Catalina out twice before, but each time I had a crew. The prior owner and I took her for a short sail before purchase, and a week later I took her out for an impromptu race with two crew members.

I hanked on the 110% jib, ran the jibsheet control lines back to the cockpit, and ensured everything was ready to go.

….and then I sat there for several minutes….wondering if I was even going to go out. The wind had picked up to about 12 or 13 mph and for the first time in a long time I was apprehensive about going out sailing. What if something happened out there……I’m in a boat I don’t know on a lake I don’t know.

I finally kicked myself in the pants and told myself to get out there!

I started the motor, made sure Karma was situated. I slipped off the dock lines and easily backed out of the slip. I motored out past the ‘no wake’ buoys, turned into the wind and hoisted the mainsail. I turned the motor off, then hoisted the jib and turned so I’d be almost straight downwind. It was a very peaceful sail. When you’re going downwind in a sailboat, you really cannot feel much of the wind. The forward motion of the boat, combined with the wind coming from behind cancels out the some of the feeling of apparent wind.

I sailed for about a mile and it was then that I noticed the connection on the end of the boom where the mainsheet [the line that controls the boom/mainsail] was extremely loose. I know it’s supposed to be somewhat loose so it can swivel when necessary, but this seemed dangerously loose. I tried to tighten up the bolt with my fingers, but it appeared to be stripped out. I began wondering if it was going to snap at any minute, so I decided to turn around and head back to the marina.

As I turned, the apparent wind was no longer canceled and I felt the full force of the wind. It had picked up a little, but was still probably only 12-13 mph. I sailed most of the way back, and then turned directly into the wind. I started the motor and set the tiller tamer [which I didn’t realize until that moment, was installed backwards by the prior owner]. I released the clutch holding the jib/headsail halyard and it dropped effortlessly as I went forward on the bow to retrieve and stow it. As I walked back to the cockpit, I noticed I had turned and was no longer pointed into the wind. Thankfully things weren’t too wild. I released the non-effective tiller tamer and turned back into the wind. I released the mainsail halyard clutch and it didn’t drop so effortlessly. I went forward to the mast and lowered the rest manually. I obviously need to lubricate the grooves where the mainsail slugs slide up and down.

I put everything up and took a photo and video of the loose boom end tang. I’ll have to research if this is normal or if my concerns are warranted.

Here’s the video. What do you think?